Updated October 3, 2020.
When I finished this Bargello cupcake, I decided it would look fantastic in a rough wood frame I have. It’s great to use frames you find inexpensively to frame your needlepoint and it can cut finishing costs dramatically, but, as my friend Marianne learned, it isn’t as easy as it looks.
Using ready-mde frames can be one of the easiest and nicest ways to finish needlepoint yourself. I have wonderful frames I have found in clearance bins at places like Marshall’s and from thrift shops. They have made it easy to finish so many stitched projects. Here’s how to do it.
First, be aware that the stated frame “size” is the size of the opening NOT the size of the picture on the front. Depending on how much lip there is on the frame the size of what shows can be considerably smaller. Therefore, unless you “test” your design by fitting the frame over it, plan of having white space all around your design.
My problem here is that I have a pretty center and a frame, but I need to know how much background to stitch.
If you have cardboard or a paper insert in your frame place it under the needlepoint, center the design on it and mark a little line of each side. connect the lines. If you have glass only, put it on top of the design, center the needlework and mark. Draw the lines without the glass or cardboard in the way.
Use a light colored thin marker safe for fabric to mark extending the lines to make the background area. Let dry overnight and stitch. I always stitch over the lines, just to be sure.
If your frame has no glass or cardboard, measure the inside dimension of the frame as well as the dimensions of the opening. Center the design using the inside dimension (You can do this by putting the frame on top of the needlepoint. But use the size of the opening for stitching the background.
Once you have marked your canvas, stitch the background. Afte you are finished stitching, cut out the needlepoint seven threads beyond your stitching.Place it into the frame. You will have to cut off some of the open canvas. How much depends on what you used to measure.
If you used cardbord, glass, or the paper insert, the stitched area is likely the same or close to the size of the back of the frame (where the picture goes. I trim one side at a tome, just a thread at a time, until it fits correctly. I cut opposite sides, cutting the same amount on both sides before test fitting. I do one pair of sides, then the other.
If you used the opening to measure your canvas, you will have less that needs to be trimmed. Usually, but not always, the lip of the frame is 1/4″. For 18 mesh canvas, it’s about 5 threds. I trim one side at a tome, just a thread at a time, until it fits correctly. I cut opposite sides, cutting the same amount on both sides before test fitting. I do one pair of sides, then the other.
Once your needlepoint fits correctly, close up the back of your frame and you are ready to go.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Since, as you know, I am a fancy stitch moron, I see a simple Parisian stitch here. One of the things I have been playing with is doing Parisian Stitch in 2 colors, working 2 needles at once. I do the stronger color for the *long* stitches and the less dominant color (or a metallic) for the *short stitches*.
I posted some pictures of the results of this stitch in 2 colors on my blog last night, if you want to go see them.
This effect might make a simple and striking background to the cupcake.
BTW, most picture frame face openings are between 1/4 to 1/2 inch smaller than the stated frame size. A few are less or more, so Janet is right, it varies frame to frame.
I often frame my pieces using “found” frames that I like. Sometimes I’ll paint the frame to match a color in the piece.
But I wanted to make the point that I think there is a common misconception that the background needs to be stitched. I don’t think it has to. I will often stitch a small pattern and it looks perfectly fine to show the canvas. I often dye my canvases beforehand with some great natural dyes and that can be your background.
My biggest problem is where to put all these wonderful framed works of art (art to me anyway). I’m starting to go the way of the crazy cat lady that has cats everywhere. I have needlepoint everywhere!
Chris Gonzales says
I just finished a fairly large piece. I believe the best way to display it is in a frame. I have never framed needlepoint before so I am looking for information on how to frame it. I am sure a professional framing gallery will charge through the roof. Any ideas? Should it be matted? I would post a photo but I cannot see a way to do it here. The piece is a work by Arthur Rackham, from the illustrations he created for “Peter Pan”. It is about 22” wide and about 32 inches high.